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Records of Auction Sales in Russian Art: 20 Most Expensive Russian Paintings, Part 2
December 30, 2014 12:52


 
No 7. Ilya Mashkov — Fruit Still Life (1910) - £ 4.76 million (about $ 8.1 million) at Christie’s, 2013
 
The fervent representative of the Jack of Diamonds (Bubnovy Valet) art group of the bygone era just lately got into top auction ratings. It is very strange that such a vigorous and powerful master was bypassed for such a long time. The Still Life is a typical sample of the artist’s manner. Its main value is that it is one of his 20 paintings that took part in the premiere exhibition of the Jack of Diamonds (1910) that thrilled the art world.
 
 
No 8. Ilya Repin — A Parisian Cafe (1875) - £ 4.52 million (about $ 7.7 million) at Christie’s, 2011
 
This early work by Ilya Repin was deprecated by art critics of that time due to its frivolous plot. The painting depicts a woman of certain description who has dared to go out unaccompanied. Therefore neither Tretyakov, nor other Russian collectors bought the painting and in 1916 it got into the Swedish collection, where it remained until recently.
 
No 9. Boris Kustodiyev — The Coachman (1923) - £ 4.4 million (about $ 7.5 million) at Christie’s, 2012
 
From 1936 the canvass belonged to the famous Russian physicist Pyotr Kapitsa, whose inheritors sold it two years ago. The sale surpassed Boris Kustodiyev’s previous record almost twice high. In 1924 the painting participated in the prestigious New York exhibition of the Russian art with works by 100 best Russian artists. It was The Coachman that was put on the exhibition poster as the most vivid generalized character of the Russian art.
 
No 10. Vasily Polenov — He that is Without Sin among You (1908) - £ 4.07 million (about $ 7 million) at Bonhams, 2011
 
The painting that illustrates the New Testament scene about Christ and Magdalen is the author's replica of the same-name canvass kept in the Russian Museum. About a century ago it crossed the Atlantic Ocean (after having a narrow escape from the Titanic voyage) and found itself in an American university collection. It remained there for nearly 80 years until the rector realized that the unknown Polenoff could help him solve the budget shortfall issue. 
 
No 11. Konstantin Somov — The Rainbow (1927) - £ 3.7 million (about $ 6.3 million) at Christie’s, 2007
 
Konstantin Somov left the USSR in 1923 as a representative of that very Russian Exhibition, which had Boris Kustodiev’s Coachman on its poster. The artist did not return to Russia but settled in Paris isntead. The member of the World of Art (Mir Iskusstva) movement kept up creating those refined and delicate images that gained him fame in the Silver Age and therefore even his painting of 1927 wonderfully conveys the pre-revolutionary atmosphere.
 
No 12. Vasily Vereshchagin — The Pearl Mosque at Agra (late 1870s-early 1880s) - £ 3.6 million (about $ 6.2 million) at Christie’s, 2014
 
It is one of the records set at the Russian art auction last month. Vasily Vereshchagin’s painting was kept in the United States almost all the time since it appeared. In 1888 it was among the paintings at Vereshchagin's exhibition touring in New York, Chicago, Baltimore and Boston. By the way, all the 110 painting from that exhibition were sold at auction right after it was over, so there still can be surprising finds in dusty storerooms of some other American universities.
 
Next: Records of Auction Sales in Russian Art: 20 Most Expensive Russian Paintings, Part 3
 
 

 

Author: Vera Ivanova

Tags: Russian Artists Russian painters    

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